OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac explained to TeleRadyo that their funds are poured into hotel accommodation, food, and travel of OFWs.
Every day, they spend P30 million on the hotel alone.
He said the cost of OWWA has increased since the IATF changed the protocol where the swab test is mandatory on the 5th day of quarantine and if it is negative, they will only be transported to the province.
“As a result, trumiple rin ang ating cost, nag-escalate ang ating hotel accommodation cost and we expect this also to be the same in the coming months,” said Cacdac.
So the former 1 to 3 days in hotel quarantine, has become 7 to 9 days.
Cacdac clarified that even if they use 5-star hotels in quarantine, it is cheaper with the help of the Department of Tourism than the market rates before the pandemic.
OWWA insists that they will be able to fund the quarantine until May and June but if the protocols and the number of returning OFWs continue, it is possible that their coffers will be exhausted.
“Kung magpapatuloy ang trend ng 7-9 days stay ay kailangan talaga natin ng supplemental funding,” said Cacdac.
He said the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the agency to which OWWA is attached, wrote to the Department of Budget and Management for the nearly P10 billion supplemental funds needed.
OWWA asks additional budget for quarantine of OFWs
Last month, Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) implemented new protocols for arriving passengers from abroad.
A few days before arriving in the country, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are advised to register online with the Philippine Red Cross to obtain a QR code. For non-OFWs, there is another online registration to get the code.
Before arrival, you must also book an accredited hotel for 7 days.
Upon arrival at the airport, the passenger will pass a body temperature scanner.
When symptoms appear, the Bureau of Quarantine will isolate the passenger, but if not, it will be directed to the briefing area.